What I learned in 2011; and no, this ADHD from A to Zoë blog post is not, thankfully, blank

Zoë Kessler, 4 months old; the beginning of a lifetime of bad hair days!

I’m celebrating not only the new year, but also my birthday (today).

Birthdays remind me that the clock is counting down. What do I want to do with the time I have left? And how do I figure out how much that is? See? Time-management is impossible!

Nonetheless, people without ADHD try to convince us otherwise, so I play along. I personally have learned how to be on time since my ADHD diagnosis, so that’s something (and I’m sure my non-ADHD employer is grateful).

Every year from January 1st to the 7th, I take time to reflect, clarify my goals, and to learn from the past years’ experiences.

A major problem with this strategy, of course, is that I can hardly remember last year. Still, I soldier on. I can still learn from what I think happened, right?

Things I definitely want to change in 2012

Due to my newly honed skill of self-observation (hard-won for a late-diagnosed adult with ADHD), I’ve identified a few things I’d like to change, re-define, or embrace this year.

1 ) This year, I’m honing my positivity. Look out person who accused me last year of being “insufferably cheerful.” You ain’t seen NUTHIN’ yet!

2 )  Point #1 notwithstanding, I’m going to stop automatically looking up, smiling, and waving every time I hear the beep-beep of a car horn because I’m assuming that it’s someone who is deliriously happy to see me. (damn car alarms) I will be especially vigilant when walking through parking lots.

3 ) Further to the autopilot dilemma (waving like Pavlov’s dog at total strangers every time I hear a car horn, see #2 above), I’m also going to stop panicking every time my phone rings because I expect a bill collector. In 2011 I learned how to pay bills on time. Yippee!

4 ) Instead of a bill collector, I’m going to program myself to expect something positive every time the phone rings: a new and lucrative assignment; just the help I need for a project; a friend who wants to take me on vacation to Hawaii; a Pulitzer prize. (Ok, the Pulitzer will have to wait until after the book is published. Let’s make that a free carpet cleaning. I could actually use that more than a Pulitzer right now).

5 ) Oh crap. I just looked at the guidelines for a Pulitzer Prize in Letters. You have to be a U.S. citizen. Ok, commitment #1, time to kick in: be positive. Maybe they’ll change the rules next year. Or I’ll marry an American. (I’m hoping for the rule change, ’cause I’m still working on my ADHD relationship skills)

6 ) I’ve learned that through treatment, I can transform being inappropriately blurtatious to open and courageous, and it’s worth it – every time.

7 ) Mostly, I’ve learned that life CAN get better even when living with ADHD. Either that, or I still have to calibrate my self-observation skills.


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